Feb. 23, 2012
By Dave Rayme, The Post-Standard
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Joe Alberici says there is a simple explanation for the success of the large contingent of Central New York lacrosse players on his Army roster.
"They usually come from a program where they're used to working for what they get," said Alberici, an Auburn native. "They never want the rewards before putting in the hard work, and that is why they've been successful here. We hope to continue it."
The Black Knights (2-1) who visit the Carrier Dome at 2 p.m. Sunday to tackle Syracuse (1-0) will have a decidedly different CNY flavor than last season's team, as first-team All-America attackman and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Jeremy Boltus (C.W. Baker) and Patriot League defensive player of the year Bill Henderson (Tully) graduated.
Yet, the Central New York roots remain strong. Henderson's younger brother, Tim, will start a longstick midfielder. He is the Patriot's preseason defensive player of the year.
Senior Zach Palmieri (CBA) will start in goal. Alberici's entire first midfield line is composed of CNY alums - senior Devin Lynch (Skaneateles; 3 goals, 1 assist); sophomore Tyler Kamide (Liverpool; 0-2) and freshman John Glesener (West Genesee; 4-3), the current Patriot rookie of the week. His brother, Dan, is a freshman close defender on the team, as is Tom DeLap (Jordan-Elbridge).
SU fans will remember Lynch in particular. As a sophomore he took a feed from Boltus and scored a goal with 5 seconds left in the second sudden-death overtime period to shock the Orange 9-8 in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The native sons seem to display their best lacrosse during their annual visits to the Dome.
"We've been fortunate," Alberici said. "I think if you look at it we've gotten more guys from some other areas, but when you look at some of our guys we would consider lead people they have come from Central New York in recent years."
Palmieri, 23, is a case in point this season. For three years he toiled in the shadow of Tom Palesky, an All-American and the Patriot goalie of the year, before getting his shot as a senior.
"He brought a lot of energy to practice all those years and never put his head down," Alberici said. "He went at it real hard all that time and was there for Tom. We have the dog pound here, which is what the kids call the bench, and he was the leader of that. He was the most vocal guy."
With promising young goalies behind him and only 47 minutes of game experience to his credit, Palmieri could have been in danger of being passed over entirely. Alberici said the player refused to let that happen.
"We've got three good young goalies," Alberici said. "But I think for us it's about who is the best guy? I owe it to the other guys on the field to put the best guy there, and at this point Zach has earned the right to be the starting goalie, and we're going to ride him."
Palmieri will enter the Dome with a respectable 8.80 goals-against average. Alberici said his goalie is solid at stopping the ball and has improved his ability to make outlet passes. Most importantly, the coach said, Palmieri is running the defense as a senior leader.
"Now it's his turn, and he's been stepping up for the first three games and is going to have to step up real big against Syracuse," Alberici said.
If history is a guide, Palmieri and his fellow CNY alums will do just that Sunday when they face the Orange in the Dome.
"Yeah," Alberici said. "We definitely want to keep this Central New York thing going. It's been very good to us."